Tears of Joy
Quinn. Age 13. Furlong, PA

The sun shone down on the clear, crisp blue lake. People were laughing, splashing, and playing all around me, in and out of the water, having a good time with friends. I heard shouts in the distance, echoing across the lake. But for me the day was filled with suspense and dread, just like how it feels right before a thunderstorm comes rolling in. I stood on the hot metal dock, waiting. The whistle blew. It was now or never. I dove off the dock.

The water rushed at me from below. The butterflies in my stomach started racing around, unable to stop. Innumerable feelings rushed through my body. Whatís going to happen to me? Why did I ever do this? The water, cool and refreshing, cascaded over me like a waterfall. My body was petrified. I didnít know what to do. I couldnít think. I began to lose myself in a daydream where I never had to do this. The whistle penetrated my thoughts, pulling me back to reality. I burst out of the water, anxious to get a breath. I started to move through the water, in and out, up and under. My blood was pounding in my ears, blocking out all other noise. Slowly, the butterflies in my stomach receded, and I realized that I was perfectly fine. I was always scared something would happen if I tried something new, something that I had never done before. But now I felt as calm as the eye of a storm. The ear-splitting whistle shrieked, bringing me back into the real world and urging me out of the water. Reluctant to get out, I slowly climbed up the ladder.

Realizing I had done it, I ran across the hot metal dock into the grass. It tickled my feet as I walked over to the single red picnic table. The silver scissors shone in the sun, glinting as they cut the bracelet, yellow and tattered, off my wrist. It was quickly replaced with a new, crisp blue bracelet. The sun sparkled on the lake, smiling at my success.

* * * * *

The next day was a sunny, wonderful day. A rainbow shimmered over-head. I was standing on the hot metal dock, in the same place I had stood just twenty-four hours ago. But this time, instead of jumping into the shallow water with nervous thoughts rushing through my head, I ran down the dock, my feet smacking the metal, and leaped down into the depths of the lake. The sun shone down through the crisp, clear blue lake. People were laughing, splashing, and playing around me, in and out of the water, having a good time with friends. But this time, I was one of those people. For me, it was a beautiful day.

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